2022, Volume 18
The efficacy of selected tai chi movements and hand exercise for people with rheumatoid arthritis
Jie Du1, Chao Liang2, Caixia Guo3
1School of Physical Education, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, China
2School of Health Sciences, Wuhan Sports University, Wuhan, China
3School of Life Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, China
Author for correspondence: Jie Du; School of Physical Education, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, China; email: email@example.com
Background and Study Aim: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been known to a chronic, inflammatory and systemic disease which causes chronic pain and long-term disability to their sufferers. Tai chi has beneficial health effects on patients with RA, but the effects are limited. Sometimes, a complete set of tai chi exercises is too difficult to perform. Choosing suitable movements to improve compliance and relieve disease conditions is needed. Meanwhile, hand exercise shows positive effects on hand joint protection as part of self-management. The aim of the research is to answer the question: whether selected tai chi movements in alliance with hand exercise is effective on joint pain, disease activity, quality of life, depression and anxiety in people with RA.
Material and Methods: Twenty people with RA were participated in the research. They were divided into experimental and control groups of 10 persons each. Participants in experimental group engaged in a special 12-week training program with selected tai chi movements and hand exercise. All participants were assessed at baseline and at 12 weeks for disease activity. This activity was evaluated by the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28), which was calculated from morning stiffness (MS); tender joint count (TJC), swollen joint count (SJC), serum rheumatoid factor (RF), C-reactive protein (CRP) erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and global health assessment.
Results: After 12 weeks of selected tai chi movements and hand exercise, DAS28, TJC, MS, ESR, CRP, and indicators of the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), the Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) and the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) in the experimental group exhibited significant improvement compared to the control group (p<0.05). DAS28 was strongly positively correlated with TJC (r = 0.890, p = 0.000), SJC (r = 0.784, p = 0.000) and CRP (r = 0.802, p=0.000). CRP had a positive correlation with TJC (r = 0.683, p = 0.001) and SJC (r = 0.463, p = 0.04). Additionally, there was a strong positive correlation (r = 0.608, p = 0.004) between the RF and ESR. We also observed that there was a significant positive correlation between changes in DAS 28 and HAQ (r = 0.491, p = 0.028), SAS (r = 0.805, p = 0.000) and SDS (r = 0.651, p = 0.003).
Conclusions: The selected tai chi movements and hand exercise is an effective treatment for RA that improves joint pain, disease activity, quality of life, depression and anxiety.
Key words: quality of life, hand exercise, disease activity, depression, anxiety